Thom Yorke's new solo song is eerily beautiful
Thom Yorke – ‘Suspirium’
Yeah, Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack work with P.T. Anderson has been near flawless, but boy am I glad somebody finally had the good sense to ask Thom Yorke to score a film, and a remake of a cult horror classic at that.
The Radiohead frontman has done the soundtrack to Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 Suspiria, and from the trailer, so far things are sounding creepy as heck. But quasi-title track ‘Suspirium’ is a different beast. Rather than unnerve or terrify, it’s a lonely waltz of porcelain piano and Yorke’s peerless falsetto that is worlds away from the glitchy rocktronica of his previous solo work, and closer to something from A Moon Shaped Pool.
There’s a sense of desolate melancholy, underscored by some ghostly flute and the ambiguous lyrics, that's eerily beautiful. Chances are, this is the least pant-shittingly scary moment of the 25-track mix of instrumental score and original song Yorke has penned for the Suspiria soundtrack, which is out 26 October.
Empress Of – ‘When I’m With Him’
Under the moniker Empress Of, East-Los Angelean Lorely Rodriguez made a splash in the indie-pop realm with her 2015 debut Me. The lead single from follow-up album Us (out 19 October) shows she’s only gotten even better at it. Flipping between English and Spanish, her bright soprano glistens over a warm bed of understated piano, springy guitar, and barely-there synths. It’s an easy-to-love, hard-to-quit single – much like the frustrating object of Empress Of’s lyrical affections.
Yves Tumor - 'Lifetime' & 'Noid'
You may not have heard of Tennessee-raised artist Yves Tumor, but he’s been getting plenty of admiration from the blogosphere and international press for theatrical shows that are reportedly closer to artistic assaults on the senses than gigs. After two albums mixing noisy experiments and ambient loops, he’s now signed to Warp Records and found a middle ground for his new album Safe In The Hands Of Love.
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A healthy dose of songwriting has seeped into his experimentalism, resulting in a sound that’s unwieldy yet palatable – a kind of dark-as-night pop. On album highlight ‘Lifetime’, he coos ‘cannot breathe I swear / It’s torture’ over a suitably claustrophobic arrangement of disintegrating piano, strings, and rowdy drum breaks. It’s sad and searing all at once.
Meanwhile, ‘Noid’ offers a different take on Tumor’s nocturnal paranoia. Backed by an insistent string sample and clattering beats, he sings about 911, PTSD, killing sprees, distrust and depression. Those worrying lyrics seem to be absorbed by the sheer energy of the track but the repetition and increasingly caterwauling textures begin to blot and overwhelm the bleak but thrilling song.
Say Lou Lou – 'Golden Child'
Imagine if First Aid Kit went a little psych rock. Actually don’t, just take a dip into this new track from Swedish-Australian siblings Miranda and Elektra Kilbey (the twin daughters of The Church’s Steve Kilbey, don’t you know). The sisters take the sounds of the ‘70s West Coast and put them through a cinematic filter, weaving crisp drums, strings, and vocal harmonies into the frame.
An ode to liberation, both creatively and as a woman, ‘Golden Child’ comes with an unsettling yet gorgeously shot music video, and is taken from Say Lou Lou’s second album Immortelle, out 21 September.
White Denim – ‘It Might Get Dark’
Following their unbeatable psych gem ‘Magazin’, this is another great cut from another great LP from the Texan garage rock weirdos, called Performance (released last month). Now 10 years into their career, White Denim (a bit like Wilco or Spoon before them) are still finding refreshing angles to their sound without obfuscating the core appeal of their adventurous rock ‘n’ roll. So it goes with ‘It Might Get Dark’, which fuese bootscootin’ licks and bluesy attitude with a bit of glam flair and fleet-fingered keys, all tied together with James Petralli’s sleek vocals.
The Beths – ‘Future Me Hates Me’
Liz Stokes, the 27-year-old songwriter who fronts Auckland’s The Beths, ditched her day job teaching trumpet to school kids to give her guitar band a crack. The curriculum’s loss is our gain. The title track to their debut album (released last month), ‘Future Me Hates Me’ is a brilliantly charming, beautifully executed ode to romantic reluctance that proves they've got the potential to become your newest favourite New Zealand export.
Cool Sounds – ‘Cactus Country’
There’s seven members in this Melbourne group but they never crowd each other on the spacious title track to their second album, their first release on Hotel Motel (Jo Syme from Big Scary’s label, trivia fans). A step-up from the Gristle EP, released earlier this year, the title of ‘Cactus Country’ suggests a sonic roam through the desert but instead, the kind of sand this breezy tune conjures is closer to the beach. Maybe it’s the layers of guitar twang and woozy synths, or vocalist Dainis Lacey’s reclined delivery… but probably more likely it’s the sneaky seagull squawk snuck into the mix.
Pirra – 'Rabbit Hole'
“A track about cutting yourself a little slack during the tough times, kicking back and enjoying the ride.” That’s how Sydney four-piece Pirra describe their cruisey new single, which follows on from ‘Get On Board’ and their self-produced 2017 debut album Animal Kingdom. The effortless groove and pleasant guitar-lite sounds lure you in even before Jess Beck’s velvety voice hooks you deeper, pulling you towards a delightfully simple ‘ooh ahh’ finale. A perfect pick-me-up.